Wilderness Encounter Tables
Unlike the dungeon tables, those used for the wilderness are not so neatly
organized according to deadliness or power. One principle of wilderness
adventuring (which makes it more dangerous for low-level characters) is that virtually
any creature can be met—and often in sizeable numbers. This is a risk the players
should be aware of before they take their characters out into the untracked
This does not mean that wilderness adventuring should be impossible for
low-level characters. It shouldn't be so deadly that they can't walk three steps
before a flight of red dragons appears and turns them to ash with one fiery breath!
That's just bad refereeing. Low-level characters should have the opportunity
to go on wilderness adventures that they can survive.
Perhaps an area of the nearby forest is regularly patrolled by the King's
Wardens who drive off the greater threats to the safety of the population. Lone
monsters often escape their notice and sometimes raid the outlying farms. Special
encounter tables can be created to reflect the lower levels of monsters that do
manage to lurk in these woods, providing low-level characters with a decent
but not overpowering challenge.
The greatest consideration in creating wilderness encounter tables is to have
a separate table for each type of terrain. These need not be created all at
once, although tables must exist for the terrain types the characters have to
enter during the course of an adventure. Different terrain types that can be used
include the following:
Desert, hot or cold
Wilderness encounter tables can reflect more than just terrain. There are
differences between the jungles of Africa and those of Asia or South America.
Different areas of jungle (or plains or whatever) can have different properties in a
fantasy world, too.
Furthermore, an area's level of civilization should be taken into account.
There might be tables for settled farmlands, border areas, and barely explored
plains. All cover the same type of terrain, but there are vast differences in the
types of encounters.
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